Thursday, August 28, 2008


MSNBC has become the network of choice in our household -- and yes, probably because it is an Obama-friendly cable network compared to its competitors. I made the point last night that I thought MSNBC was vying to become the anti-Fox. The whole "If you can't beat 'em, join 'em" mentality. That since MSNBC was perennially stuck in third place among the cable networks behind Fox and CNN that the network decided to go in a more partisan direction -- like Fox only to the other end of the political spectrum.

So as the convention has played out this week we have seen examples on the network where Republicans spouting GOP talking points have been shot down on live TV by MSNBC commentators. In addition to the partisan angle there is another sub-theme with the drama between the personalities over at MSNBC. Watching these spats happen live on the air has become a voyeuristic little sideshow that has kept us entertained between speeches.

I found these clips on YouTube at lunch to illustrate the point. All of these have taken place this week.

First, here is Olbermann interjecting a "Let's wrap him up" comment into an interview with Republican strategist Mike Murphy. Granted, Murphy was rambling with a silly point about how he thought Bill and Hillary Clinton would actually pull the lever for John McCain in the privacy of the voting booth. Then Matthews goes on to berate Murphy for making such an unsubstantiated claim.

Next, this clip illustrates the tension between Chris Matthews, the sometimes obnoxious but informed and frequently entertaining host of Hardball, and Keith Olbermann, the sarcastic, witty and very partisan host of Countdown who has rescued MSNBC from dismal ratings as his show has increased in popularity.

Finally, I found this one featuring a snip between Olbermann and Joe Scarborough, former Republican congressman and host of MSNBC's Morning Joe program. I don't have the animosity that a lot of die-hard liberals have for Scarborough. I think he's much more down the middle than say a Lou Dobbs or a Sean Hannity/Bill O'Reilly. But if MSNBC is going in more of a partisan direction to win viewers and compete with Fox and CNN, people like Joe who try to pull themselves above the partisan fray are probably a dying breed.

Anyhow, for those of us who are political junkies this has been a fun diversion during the convention. If you watch MSNBC, see if you spot some of this kind of stuff.


Update: Of course The Daily Show does a much more humorous job of summing up the infighting over at MSNBC.

Stewart: "Wow, looks like the weather in Scarborough Country is partly bitchy with a chance of 'Reeooowwwrr'"

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